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DSM-IV criteria for childhood separation anxiety disorder : informant, age, and sex differences

Allen, Jennifer and Lavallee, Kristen and Herren, Chantal and Ruhe, Katharina and Schneider, Silvia (2010) DSM-IV criteria for childhood separation anxiety disorder : informant, age, and sex differences. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24 (8). pp. 946-952. ISSN 0887-6185. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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Abstract

Background: The present study examines frequency of DSM-IV symptom and diagnostic criteria for separation anxiety disorder (SAD) by informant, age, and sex. Methods: Children aged 4–15 years with a primary DSM-IV diagnosis of SAD (N= 106) were assessed using structured diagnostic interviews (Kinder-DIPS; DSM-IV-TR Version). Frequency of DSM-IV symptom and diagnostic criteria were examined as a function of informant and child characteristics, along with impairment and distress ratings. Results: The most frequently reported symptoms were separation-related distress, avoidance of being alone/without an adult and sleeping away from caregivers or from home, with nightmares the least frequently endorsed criterion. Child report did not yield any significant sex or age differences. However, parent report revealed greater reluctance or avoidance of school attendance for girls than boys, and for younger children (<8 years). Parent report indicated greater symptom-related impairment than child report, and the number of symptoms was correlated with impairment based on parent report, and with distress based on child report. Conclusions: The primary indicators of SAD appear to be separation distress, avoidance of being alone, and sleeping away from caregivers. Findings suggest that parents may be best placed to determine impairment, while children may be the most accurate reporters of more covert internal distress. Implications for clinicians are that reports from multiple informants should be used to gain the most comprehensive information about childhood SAD.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Primary responsiblity for the conceptualisation, analysis and write-up of data. First study to examine factors influencing the reported frequency of DSM-IV symptom and diagnostic criteria for separation anxiety disorder (SAD) - the last study to do so was based on DSM-III criteria. Results provide guidance concerning whether parent or child informants are best placed to report on different diagnostic and impairment criteria for separation anxiety in children. Findings have been reported in a recent review on conceptualising functional impairment associated with mental disorders in children (Rapee et al., 2012).
Controlled Keywords: DSM, diagnosis, separation anxiety disorder, Health and wellbeing
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Psychology and Human Development
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2013 02:01
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:58
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